Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Cause of ALS is found, Northwestern team says

  1. Oct 22, 2014 #1
    What do you think?

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifes...hwestern-als-breakthrough-20110822-story.html
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 22, 2014 #2

    Ygggdrasil

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    ~5-10% of ALS cases are inherited from one's parents, and a lot of effort has gone in to tracking down what mutations are responsible for these familial cases of ALS. Wikipedia has a list of some of the mutations associated with various forms of familial ALS. Common genetic variants associated with ALS include a mutation in superoxide dismutatse (an enzyme that elimnates free radicals), which accounts for ~ 2% of ALS cases overall, and mutations in a region of chromosome 9 of unknown function called C9orf72, which accounts for ~6% of ALS cases among white Europeans. How mutations in these and other genes lead to ALS is not currently very well understood and is an active area of research (for example, Science recently published a pair of papers examining how mutations in C9orf72 might contribute to neurodegeneration). The news article Greg cites comes from a 2011 paper in Nature that identifies mutations of the gene UBQLN2 as the cause of familial ALS in the family they studied.

    While familial ALS account for only a very small amount of those with the disease, these studies are very important because they point out particular biochemical pathways in the brain that, when disrupted, lead to ALS. Figuring out how these mutations lead to the development of ALS could potentially give insight into how one might go about treating the disease. However, like cancer, ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases seem like very complex diseases that can have multiple causes, whose treatment may vary for case to case.
     
  4. Oct 22, 2014 #3

    SteamKing

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    It should be noted that the Chicago Tribune article linked to in the OP is more than 3 years old.
     
  5. Oct 22, 2014 #4
    Yikes how did I miss that! Must not have been that important.
     
  6. Oct 22, 2014 #5

    SteamKing

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Well, ALS has been researched for almost 75 years now, so any news about an incurable disease is not necessarily bad news.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Cause of ALS is found, Northwestern team says
  1. Alberts et al CD-ROM (Replies: 8)

  2. ALS Research (Replies: 4)

Loading...